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Schools Campaign to make every school attachment aware

Published: 31.10.16

Adoption UK has joined forces with the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), among other professional teaching bodies, in a bid to make every school attachment-aware.
Schools Campaign to make every school attachment aware

The aim of the Schools Campaign is to provide all teachers with knowledge, practical strategies, access to training, and a network of support through Adoption UK’s schools’ membership programme.

Adoption UK believes the time has come to revolutionise the approach to attachment in every school – a view backed up by the NAHT, the National Association of Virtual School Heads (NAVSH) and The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL). Adoption UK has produced a joint guidance document which will go to every head-teacher.

One adoptive parent recently told us how she’d began to question her ability to look after her son as she was constantly being called into school over his behaviour

Research, recently published by Queen’s University Belfast, found that about 60% of all children experience some form of loss, neglect, abuse or separation. Despite this, teachers are not routinely trained to deal with attachment issues at present.  This can result in violence, expulsion and truancy – our members’ experiences back this up.

Hugh Thornbery CBE Adoption UK’s chief executive said: “One adoptive parent recently told us how she’d began to question her ability to look after her son as she was constantly being called into school over his behaviour. Another of our members told us how his son was repeatedly taken out of maths lessons and taken for a ‘kick-around’ instead.

“The majority of children adopted today come from a background of abuse and/or neglect. As a result, adopted children frequently experience significant difficulties in school.”

Attachment affects a broad range of children in schools but adopted children’s ability to keep pace with their classmates, academically, is being compromised, despite the Government’s best efforts. Their attainment in school is significantly lower than other students. Latest research shows adopted children falling behind as early as Key Stage Two - with less than half reaching their expected targets - compared to three-quarters of their classmates. Unsurprisingly, this follows them through school to GSCEs where we know fewer than one in four adopted children secure five or more A*-C grades at GCSE, including English and maths. The figure in state-funded schools is 57.1%.

We recognise the difficult job teachers do and acknowledge that disruptive pupils can wreck carefully planned lessons 

A survey of Adoption UK’s membership found that 80% believe their children need more support in schools because of their early childhood experiences. Figures recently released show the percentage of pupils with a statement of SEN or an EHC plan that are persistent absentees is twice as high as the percentage for pupils with no identified SEN.

Mr Thornbery added: “We recognise the difficult job teachers do and acknowledge that disruptive pupils can wreck carefully planned lessons and curtail other classmates learning. But our members tell us their adopted children are regularly penalised at school because of a lack of understanding about their complex needs so we’re hoping to work with all teaching staff so they’re aware, as well as better equipped, to meet these vulnerable children’s needs.”

Edward Timpson, Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families, is backing our campaign.

Mr Timpson said: "As someone who grew up with two adopted brothers, I know first-hand how important it is for vulnerable children to have the right support at home and in school.

“Adopted children often perform less well than their classmates and this important campaign builds on the work the Government is already doing to tackle this. We have invested extra funding to help support these children and introduced a designated teacher in every school who will champion their educational attainment."

Schools can use their Pupil Premium funding to become an adoption-friendly school by joining Adoption UK.